Organizing Historical Files and Documents on the Shared Drive

When restructuring the shared drive network, it is likely that there will be a considerable number of historical documents that need to be kept and archived. Often, records that are considered permanent, such as financial and personnel records, must be retained by the organization. Other records, such as strategy and business plans, provide history and background to an organization.

Historical data can be identified with the following criteria:

  • The data does not need to be accessed again and are solely being retained for historical and archival purposes;
  • The data are closed, completed, and finished, such as with projects and initiatives that do not have to be accessible;
  • The data relates to old businesses, sold assets, and dissolved entities or departments that do not need to be accessible but may be required for historical purposes; and/ or
  • Former employee work files (not their personnel file) that have been reviewed do not have to be accessible any longer but are still important to keep if future access is needed.

Be cautious moving historical data onto external hard drives. Although external hard drives are plug and play devices, once data is moved to an external hard drive it becomes forgotten and less accessible to staff. The following are ways to manage historical files on a Shared Drive network. These options should be discussed with IT and management before implementing an option.

  • Integrate into the file structure: Within the file structure, data can be organized chronologically to archive historical data, as shown in the screenshot below.
  •  Create a “historical” file folder: A folder labeled Historical or Archive can be created in the first line of file folders. Within this folder a mirror image of the first line of folders (i.e., divisions of an organization) can be made. When documents become outdated for each division, they can be moved into the same topical folder in the historical folder. Or sub-files can be designed by year. As files and documents become outdated they can be moved into the appropriate historical year folder.

 

 

 

 

  • Archive them on a separate drive: Another option to manage historical data is to create a separate drive allocated on the server solely for archived and historical information. The structure can be designed in one of the options recommended above. Keeping the archived data on the server enables the data to be accessible quickly. It also will update files and documents automatically as software and operating systems are upgraded. Another option is to store historical and archive data on an external hard drive.

To learn how to organize electronic files on the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.

Organizing Cloud Based Files- Otixo File Manager

OtixoAs if organizing electronic files on your local drive hasn’t been hard enough, we now have electronic files in cloud-based services such as DropBox, Picasa, Google Drive, FTP servers, SugarSync, and a host of others. There is a great app, Otixo, that is a cloud-based file manager that helps to solve at least part of the problem. Otixo is essentially an app that allows you to view and access your data across multiple platforms. Otixo is not a hosting service all the data still resides on the original app, it merely provides a dashboard to manage all your cloud based files in one screen view. It uses an OAuth to connect to your accounts, so it doesn’t see nor collect usernames and passwords. The platform also allows users to click and drag files from one cloud-based platform to another. You can also preview, delete, rename, organize and search across multiple platforms all within Otixo.

Another great feature is Otixo Spacestheir ‘spaces’ which is a collaboration tool. Let’s say you are working with vendors or contractors on some projects. They of course have an on-line platform they use, DropBox, and your company prefers Google Drive. Until now, usually one entity has to compromise to use another’s platform. With Otixo, you don’t have too. Otixo allows a collaboration space to be created that will connect multiple accounts and platforms. The user who sets up the space can provide permissions to users. Otixo also tracks all activity and provides an easy log to see who has accessed, changed, and updated files to a space. You can add notes and comments to documents that are separated from the document but easily seen in Otixo.

This is an excellent and well-designed app to help manage cloud-based files and applications. And a great deal at $47.90 per year or 4.99 per month.

The Benefits of Organizing the Shared Drive

For most organizations, shared network drives on computer servers are used to store and share business documents. Every day, employees create and manage electronic information to support their work. In fact, it is estimated that 95% of all new information is still stored on network servers. In addition, most organizations permit their employees to store electronic information on a “personal” or “individual” drive that is accessible only to the individual. In addition, there are now project collaboration systems such as SharePoint and Google Sites, which also contain organization data. Managing all of this data and information efficiently and effectively can greatly improve business performance, knowledge management, and productivity.

Employees usually have been given very little guidance and information on saving, filing, deleting, and naming documents onto the shared network drives. As a result, server systems can and have reached capacity limit quickly. It is important to provide staff clear direction on file structure and where electronic records should be saved.

Having an organized shared drive will provide the following benefits for businesses and organizations:

  • Improve accessibility of data among employees and staff.
  • Provide a clear understanding of how and where to save files on the shared drive network.
  • Improve worker efficiency and productivity with quick access of current and historical files and documents.
  • Reduce duplication of files and provide clear guidelines of version control.
  • Provide easier access to collaboration with shared files and documents within the organization.
  • Improve clarity and ease for new employees to access important information quickly.
  • Lay the foundation for a paperless office by reducing official paper files and increase reliance on electronic file system.
  • Improve the corporate memory and maintain important history when employees leave the organization.
  • Become prepared for a transfer to a document or content management system such as Microsoft SharePoint or Documentum.

To learn how to organize electronic files and the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.

Application Recommendations to Manage Contacts and Business Cards

A given individual today might have four or more phone numbers; two to three email addresses; as well as separate mailing addresses for home, work, and one or more satellite offices. It can be difficult to track all this data on a business card or in a paper format. It is recommended to have an electronic system or application to manage contacts and relationships. 

 Electronic systems offer a number of benefits over collecting and filing business cards. Often when we receive business cards, they end up scattered in a desk drawer or consolidated into a big stack. When we need that data, it is difficult to access or use. Relationships are a powerful tool in today’s business world. Utilizing your contacts as resources and potential sales maximizes your business potential. After you enter business and contact information into an application, you have the power to market and utilize these contacts fully through mailings and email.

 

Here are some contact management application and app recommendations:

 Productivity Applications

  • Microsoft Outlook: Most workers already have Microsoft Outlook installed on their systems. The folder ‘Contacts’ is where contact information can be entered to sync with most mobile devises.
  • ACT! : One of the market leaders for small and medium sized businesses, this productivity tool, was designed around contact records that manages calendar and tasks lists as well.
  • Mac Address Book: Mac has their own internal contact management application that syncs seamlessly with all other apple products.
  • Gmail Contacts: Google’s application to manage contact and business cards. The beauty with Google is that it syncs with almost all mobile devises and is cloud-based accessible. Easy to use but not a lot of contact management functionality.

Outlook 3rd Party Tools

  • Copy2Contact: This is a third party Microsoft Outlook plug that converts signatures into new contacts automatically.
  • Duplicate Contacts Eliminator: Scans Outlook Contacts and eliminates and/or merges duplicate records.

 Card Scanning

  • CamCard: This mobile devise application takes a picture of a business card and then translates into text and exports into Excel, Outlook or the primary address book on the mobile device.
  • CardScan: The leading card scanning equipment and software in the market. The system scans in business cards and then exports them into a wide variety of productivity and contact management systems. Great, system for those individuals who have lots of business cards that need to get entered electronically.

 Contact Sync

·         Plaxo: A web-based contact management tool that has been in the market place for awhile and now interacts with other platforms such as Outlook, Apple and Gmail. It will email your contacts for updated contact information usually annually or per request.

·         Companion Link: This application syncs contacts, calendar, tasks, notes from application to application and mobile devise to mobile devise.

A given individual today might have four or more phone numbers; two to three email addresses; as well as separate mailing addresses for home, work, and one or more satellite offices. It can be difficult to track all this data on a business card or in a paper format. It is recommended to have an electronic system or application to manage contacts and relationships.

 

Electronic systems offer a number of benefits over collecting and filing business cards. Often when we receive business cards, they end up scattered in a desk drawer or consolidated into a big stack. When we need that data, it is difficult to access or use. Relationships are a powerful tool in today’s business world. Utilizing your contacts as resources and potential sales maximizes your business potential. After you enter business and contact information into an application, you have the power to market and utilize these contacts fully through mailings and email.

 

Here are some contact management application and app recommendations:

Productivity Applications

 

  • Microsoft Outlook: Most workers already have Microsoft Outlook installed on their systems. The folder ‘Contacts’ is where contact information can be entered to sync with most mobile devises.

 

  • ACT! : One of the market leaders for small and medium sized businesses, this productivity tool, was designed around contact records that manages calendar and tasks lists as well.

 

  • Mac Address Book: Mac has their own internal contact management application that syncs seamlessly with all other apple products.

·         Gmail Contacts: Google’s application to manage contact and business cards. The beauty with Google is that it syncs with almost all mobile devises and is cloud-based accessible. Easy to use but not a lot of contact management functionality.

Outlook 3rd Party Tools

  • Copy2Contact: This is a third party Microsoft Outlook plug that converts signatures into new contacts automatically.

 

 

Card Scanning

  • CamCard: This mobile devise application takes a picture of a business card and then translates into text and exports into Excel, Outlook or the primary address book on the mobile device.

 

  • CardScan: The leading card scanning equipment and software in the market. The system scans in business cards and then exports them into a wide variety of productivity and contact management systems. Great, system for those individuals who have lots of business cards that need to get entered electronically.

How to Purge Desktop and Office Paper

It is difficult to let go of paper data because we are not sure of its value in the future and the desire to have a tangible format. When purging paper, start with small chunks, such as one file drawer or one desktop pile to go through. It doesn’t need to be all done in one day or at one time. For most documents, users will be able to ascertain what to keep and what can be recycled. It is reasonable to keep some mementos of past history but keep it down to a small file folder size.

 Here are some questions to ask yourself to help deem what to keep in paper or purge;

  • Is there any action required?

If not, you can probably get rid of it.

  • Is it already saved electronically?

If so, then you recycle the paper.

  • Will the organization ever need, want or find value in this information again?

If yes, then consider scanning the information to store it electronically.

  • Is the information outdated and/or superseded?

If yes, then recycle it!

  • Is the information located on the organization Intranet network?

If quick reference to the document is not needed, then recycle the paper and access the data electronically.

  • Does the document or file have legal (current or future) implications?

If so make sure there is an electronic copy or it is scanned in.

  • Is there any legal retention requirement to keep the data?

Documents if saved in an electronic PDF format are sufficient for any legal requirements.

Contact us if you would like assistance in organizing your office or computer.